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How today’s crunch EFL vote will work as clubs consider Town’s play-off plan

PUBLISHED: 09:10 09 June 2020

The EFL will meet on Tuesday to discuss the future of the League One season

The EFL will meet on Tuesday to discuss the future of the League One season

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The EFL and its member clubs will meet this morning, when a resolution to the League One season is expected. Here we look at how the meeting will work.

Paul Lambert expects the League One season to be cancelled at Tuesday's meeting. Picture: PAGEPIX LTDPaul Lambert expects the League One season to be cancelled at Tuesday's meeting. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

After weeks of talks, a decision is finally set to be made regarding the future of the League One season on Tuesday.

The EFL meeting is due to begin at 10.30am this morning but clubs aren’t duty-bound to attend it. Votes on the various proposals can be made in advance, via email, or by using an app while the teams’ representatives are taking part in the live call on Microsoft Teams.

Ipswich Town have always maintained a desire to complete their final eight games on the pitch and will vote accordingly, but it remains the expectation that the season will be curtailed early and the EFL’s plan to sort final standings using a points-per-game formula will be invoked.

That would need to be voted in by clubs over two ballots, the first involving the entire EFL and the second then specific to EFL clubs.

Paul Lambert's Ipswich Town would finish seventh under a points-per-game plan. Picture: STEVE WALLERPaul Lambert's Ipswich Town would finish seventh under a points-per-game plan. Picture: STEVE WALLER

A number of amendments have been suggested by clubs, including one from Ipswich to expand the play-offs, which will all be addressed at the meeting.

Here we take a look at how today’s meeting will work.

The EFL’s preferred framework

The governing body have already made their feelings known. They want the season to continue when it’s safe to do so but, should that not be possible, they have already put their preferred framework on the table.

Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart expects the League One season to be called off at Tuesday's meeting. Picture: PA SPORTRotherham United chairman Tony Stewart expects the League One season to be called off at Tuesday's meeting. Picture: PA SPORT

That would see final placings in leagues decided by a straight points-per-game basis, with the top two (or three in League Two) promoted and the next four sides entering the play-offs. Those three games would then be played behind-closed-doors. The usual number of sides would also be relegated.

League Two have already agreed to accept the EFL’s proposal while the Championship will resume on June 20.

That leaves League One, where opinion is very much split.

Deducted points

Mark Robins' Coventry would win the League One title if the season finished early. Picture: PA SPORTMark Robins' Coventry would win the League One title if the season finished early. Picture: PA SPORT

Lincoln have put forward a motion that teams who have had points deducted should have their sanction applied after the points-per-game calculation has taken place, rather than it being part of the calculation.

In League One, Bolton were docked 12 points at the start of the campaign due to financial trouble. They have earned 26 points on the pitch but currently sit on 14 due to their deduction, with the Lincoln proposal suggesting the greater number should be acknowledged. Doing so would make Wanderers more than three points better off over the course of a 44-game season. This wouldn’t save them from relegation, though.

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Relegation issues

Darragh MacAnthony (Peterborough), Joey Barton (Fleetwood) and Phil Parkinson (Sunderland) have all had their say on how League One should be completed. Picture: PADarragh MacAnthony (Peterborough), Joey Barton (Fleetwood) and Phil Parkinson (Sunderland) have all had their say on how League One should be completed. Picture: PA

On the subject of relegation, Championship side Barnsley have proposed no sides be relegated from their respective divisions should seasons not be completed on the pitch while Stevenage, who would finish bottom of League Two based on points-per-game, have suggested no side should go down from the fourth tier.

The latter issue is complicated by the fact Macclesfield, currently second bottom, could face a points deduction due to financial problems.

The most contentious of the relegation issues centres around Tranmere, who would be relegated from League One by just 0.04 of a point despite sitting just three points from safety with a game in hand, at a time when they had won their last three matches.

Rovers have proposed a margin-for-error formula which would only see clubs relegated should they remain in the drop zone, even when the calculations are applied. Tranmere have used historical data from all three EFL divisions, from the last three seasons, to work out teams’ movement during the final stages of the season.

Using the calculated margin-for-error, between -5.45 and +6.3%, Tranmere would stay up and only Southend and Bolton relegated, leaving League One with 25 clubs for a single season.

Promotion picture

Now on to the top end of the third tier.

The Tranmere proposal, if voted for, would see Peterborough, Sunderland and Doncaster all make an expanded play-off competition at a time when they would miss out under a straight PPG finish.

Ipswich have also made a proposal for ‘further consultation’ surronding expanding the play-offs, to as many as 10 teams, with any single alternative requiring the support of six clubs to be put to the vote. Then each would be voted on, with the plan receiving the fewest votes eliminated on a round-by-round basis.

A Town statement reads: “The club’s proposal, for League One only, is that there is further consultation between the board and the clubs over an alternative Play-Off formula for 2019/20 and that any proposal that has the support of at least six other clubs should go to a vote.”

The voting process

When the vote finally arrives, Barnsley’s proposal will be addressed first before then discussing Tranmere’s margin-for-error suggestion.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has issued a statement after League One was brought to an early end. Picture: PA/ITFCIpswich Town owner Marcus Evans has issued a statement after League One was brought to an early end. Picture: PA/ITFC

Should the latter be accepted, there would be no need to debate any of the other proposals and the Tranmere plan would be voted upon along with the original EFL framework.

However, if neither of those gain a majority, clubs would be left to play-out the season in full.

Amendments require a 51% majority to be passed, with all 71 clubs from the three EFL leagues voting. That majority would need the support of 37 clubs.

Whether to then enact the amendments (or original EFL framework) is then voted on in each division, with 12 League One clubs needing to agree for a plan to be passed.


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